A S I N N E R M E E T S T H E
S AV I O U R
Encounters with Jesus in the Gospel of John
F. Wayne Mac Leod
Light To My Path Book Distribution
Copyright © 2007 F. Wayne Mac Leod
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or
by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written
permission of the publisher.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise specified, are taken from the New International Version of
the Bible (Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used with permission of
Zondervan Bible Publishers. All Rights reserved.
CONTENTS
Title Page
Copyright
Preface
1 - The Apostle John
2 - John the Baptist
3 - The Disciples of John the Baptist
4 - Andrew and Philip
5 - Nathanael
6 - The Money Changers
7 - Nicodemus
8 - The Samaritan Woman
9 - The Nobleman
10 - The Man at the Pool
11 - The Boy Who Fed Five Thousand
12 - The Crowd and the Bread of Life
13 - The Adulterous Woman
14 - The Man Born Blind
15 - The Pharisees and the Death of Lazarus
16 - Mary and Judas
17 - Simon Peter
18 - Pilate
19 - Conclusion
About The Author
“I
PREFACE
have come that they may have life, and have it to the full,” Jesus
said in John 10:10. Men and women flocked to Jesus to hear
Him preach. Jesus touched their lives during His brief stay on
earth. He touched the rich and the poor, the sinner and the religious person,
the sick and the healthy. His great desire was that they have an abundant
and full life.
Many years have passed since Jesus rose from the dead. People all around
the world are still meeting Him today. Countless lives have been changed.
The purpose of this study, is to examine a variety of encounters between
Jesus and ordinary people as recorded for us in the Gospel of John. It is my
desire that the reader will gain a new appreciation of what it means to meet
and follow after the Lord Jesus. May this book serve as a means of
introducing many to this great Saviour.
F. Wayne Mac Leod
B
1 - THE APOSTLE JOHN
When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee
and his brother John in a boat preparing their nets. Without
delay he called them and they left their father Zebedee in the
boat with the hired men and followed him. (Mark 1:19-20)
efore we begin this series of reflections on the Gospel of John it
may be helpful to learn something about the author. The author of
the Gospel of John was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. He
was a fisherman by trade (Mark 1:19-20). John would develop a very close
relationship to Jesus. In fact on several occasions he was referred to as "the
disciple whom Jesus loved" (see John 13:23; 19:26; 21:7) He was among
the few apostles to see the resurrection of Jairus' daughter from the dead
(Mark 5:37). He was with Jesus on the mountain when he saw Jesus
gloriously transfigured (Mark 9:2). He was also in the Garden of
Gethsemane with Jesus before His crucifixion (Mark 14:33). When Jesus
was on the cross, He gave John the responsibility of caring for Mary His
mother (John 19:27). After the ascension of Jesus, John became a co-
worker with the apostle Peter in spreading the gospel. It was also to this
beloved disciple that the risen Jesus revealed the future. John is the author
of the book of Revelation. He also wrote the first, second and third epistles
of John.
What did it mean for this man to meet the Saviour? When John met the
Lord Jesus he was in a fishing boat. Jesus was walking beside the Sea of
Galilee when He saw John fishing. Jesus called out to him. The Bible tells
us that when John heard the call of Jesus to follow, he did two things.
First, John responded immediately. Jesus expected nothing less of him that
day. Later in His ministry Jesus called another man to follow Him. That
man responded by saying: "Lord, first let me go and bury my father."
(Matthew 8:21). "Jesus," he was saying, "I'm willing to follow you but you
caught me at a bad time. I've got a few things to attend to and then I'll come
and follow you." Jesus told that man: "Follow me, and let the dead bury
their own dead." (Matthew 8:22).
When Jesus calls, He expects us to respond immediately. How often have
men and women put off their decision to follow Jesus until later only to find
out that later never came. In Luke 12:16-20 Jesus told a story about a rich
man who put off a decision because his business was booming. He decided
he would first build larger barns to store his wealth and then lay back and
take it easy. He would have time to make things right later. Jesus called him
a fool because that very night he would die. He would die before he could
enjoy his wealth. More importantly, however, he would die without making
himself right with God.
The writer of Hebrews pleads with his readers in Hebrews 3:15: "Today, if
you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion."
None of us are guaranteed tomorrow. When the Lord knocks at the door of
your heart, don’t put Him off. Open your heart immediately. Now is the
only time you know you have. When Jesus called, John responded
immediately.
Second, when Jesus called, John left everything behind (Mark 1:20). John
did not run home to pack his bags. He did not drag his net behind him as he
followed after Jesus. John dropped everything. He left his job and he left his
family.
Notice that Jesus does not offer any apologies to John for making him leave
everything. No apology was necessary. Jesus was offering him something of
far greater value than John already had. You do not apologize for delivering
a slave from a cruel master. You do not apologize for delivering a poor man
from his poverty. You do not apologize for taking a fisherman and making
him a fisher of men.
John responded immediately, and he dropped everything he had to follow
after Jesus. What does Jesus expect from us? He expects that when He calls,
we will not delay in responding to that call. He expects that we will not put
Him off until later. He expects that we drop everything to follow Him. He
makes no apologies for this for He offers us something of far greater value.
Will you come to Him under these conditions?
For Consideration:
What things keep you from making an immediate decision for the Lord
Jesus?
Are there any things in your life that you would have problem leaving to
follow the Lord Jesus?
Can anything be considered a sacrifice if we receive far more by giving it
up than keeping it?
What do you gain by following Jesus? What do you really lose?
For Prayer:
Ask the Lord to help you to deal with any obstacles that keep you from
following Jesus today.
Thank the Lord that He promises to give you far more than you could ever
give up for Him.
Ask the Lord to give you a heart that will follow Him like John.
T
2 - JOHN THE BAPTIST
There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John.
He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that
through him all men might believe. (John 1:6-7)
he first person we meet in the gospel of John is John the Baptist
(see John 1:6-9). John's father was a priest by the name of
Zechariah. Zechariah's wife, Elizabeth could not have children.
This was a source of much pain for Zechariah. He pleaded with the Lord for
a child. One day, as he was exercising his priestly duties, an angel of the
Lord appeared to him with an important message.
But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your
prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son,
and you are to give him the name John. (Luke 1:13)
Shortly after these events, Elizabeth conceived. When she was six months
into her pregnancy, Mary the mother of Jesus, who was herself pregnant
with our Lord, went to visit her. The Bible tells us that when Elizabeth
heard the greeting of Mary, the child (John), leapt for joy in her womb.
What a strange encounter this was.
The Bible does not tell us anything about John's childhood. We do know
that when he was old enough, he went to live in the desert. In those days
there were religious groups who chose to live in the desert away from the
polluting influence of common society. They spent their time cultivating
their relationship with God. It is possible that John joined one of these
groups. If this is the case, we see that, even as a young man, John was
aware of a call of God on his life. He chose not to find a secular job like the
rest of his friends. He gave his whole life to the pursuit of God.
While the apostle John met the Saviour as an adult, John the Baptist met
him as a child. There are many important decisions made during childhood.
We ought never to under estimate a child's understanding of spiritual
matters. A person does not have to wait until he or she is older to meet the
Lord Jesus. John is an example of a young child who dedicated his life to
Christ.
The example of John the Baptist clearly shows us that, even as a child, he
understood enough to commit his heart and life to the Lord. How beautiful
it is to see a child give his or her life to the Lord. So many of us wait until
we are older and thus throw away 20, 30, 40, or more years of life lived for
ourselves.
Jesus began his ministry at the age of thirty. He died just a few years later.
John the Baptist was the same age as our Lord. It was during the ministry of
Christ that Herod beheaded John. John the Baptist likely died at the age of
32 or 33. John could not have waited until he was 35 or 40 to give his life to
the Lord. John accepted the Lord as a child and lived the few years he had
for the glory of his God.
What did it mean for John the Baptist to meet the Saviour? It meant giving
Him his entire life. It was not a long life but it was lived for the Lord. How
about you? How many years are left? Why not gave what remains to the
Lord?
For Consideration:
How old do you think a person needs to be to come to an understanding of
salvation?
How many years did it take for you to come to know the Lord Jesus?
Why is it important for us to accept the Lord at an early age? How many
years are we really guaranteed?
Do you know the Lord as your Saviour today? Have you been living your
life for His glory?
For Prayer:
Thank that Lord that even children can be saved from their sin and have a
relationship with the Saviour?
Ask the Lord to help you to use the time that remains for His glory.
Take a moment to pray for the children you have contact with today. Ask
God to reveal Himself to them so that they can know Him as their Saviour.
Ask God to forgive us for making salvation so complicated. Thank Him for
the simplicity of childlike trust in God for salvation.
W
3 - THE DISCIPLES OF
JOHN THE BAPTIST
The next day John was there again with two of his disciples.
When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of
God.” When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed
Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked,
“What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means
Teacher), “where are you staying?” “Come,” he replied, “and
you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and
spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour. (John
1:35-39)
e have seen what it meant for John the Baptist to meet the
Saviour. John had a group of disciples who followed him and
assisted him in his ministry. On one occasion, John saw the
Lord Jesus passing by and said to his disciples: “Look, the Lamb of God”
(John 1:36). When the disciples heard this they left John to follow the Lord
(John 1:37).
Later, in John 3, we read that some of John's disciples came to him with
what they perceived to be a real problem:
They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was
with you on the other side of the Jordan-the one you testified
about--well, he is baptizing, and every-one is going to him.
These disciples were not sure how to handle the fact that people were
leaving their little group to follow Jesus. They saw Jesus as a threat. Both
Jesus and John were baptizing and preaching but people were flocking to
Jesus. John's popularity was being overshadowed. John had no problem
with this. “He must become greater; I must become less,” John told his
disciples (John 3:30). John's disciples, however, did not see things in this
light. They were comfortable in their little group and resented anything that
would threaten to break them apart.
Many years later in Ephesus, we meet another group of John's disciples.
Paul asked them if they had received the Holy Spirit when they believed
(Acts 19:2). John’s disciples replied: “No, we have not even heard that there
is a Holy Spirit” (Acts 19:2). These disciples were missing a very important
Christian teaching. Their understanding of the Christian life was
inadequate. Paul taught them about the ministry of the Holy Spirit and that
day these twelve disciples were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus and
became His followers too.
What did it mean for the disciples of John to meet the Saviour? It meant
that they had to be willing to leave their little group. John was a good and
respected man of God. He was a good preacher of the Word. His disciple's
understanding of the truth, however, was limited.
If John’s disciples were to grow in their relationship with God, they would
need to associate with the disciples of Christ. For some this meant leaving
their group to join another. They came to realize that their spiritual walk
was more important than their little group.
Maybe you have been part of a church for many years and have never
grown in your personal relationship with God. Maybe you have not grown
in your understanding of the teaching of the Word of God. When the
disciples of John met the Saviour, they realized that they needed to join
with those who were more closely following Him. There they could be
encouraged and grow in the truth of the Word of God. Those who remained,
many years later still had not grown in their understanding of the key truths
of the faith.
When we meet the Saviour, we too will need to examine whether we are
part of a fellowship that correctly preaches and teaches the Word of God.
Our relationship with God and our growth in Him is of utmost importance.
John’s disciples were so hungry for Christ and the truth of His Word that
they were willing even to leave their own fellowship to find a place where
they could learn more and grow in their faith.
For Consideration:
Is your church preaching the truth? Has it been an encouragement to you in
your growth in Christ?
How important is it to you that you grow in your relationship with God?
What stands in the way of your spiritual growth today?
What would you be willing to do today to grow in your relationship with
God and your understanding of the truth of His Word?
For Prayer:
If your church has been an encouragement to your spiritual growth, take a
moment to thank the Lord for its members and leaders.
If you are not part of a church that has been helping you to grow spiritually,
ask the Lord to bring people into your life that will encourage you and teach
you in the ways of Christ.
O
4 - ANDREW AND PHILIP
Andrew, Simon Peters brother, was one of the two who heard
what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing
Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We
have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought
him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son
of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is
Peter). The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding
Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” Philip, like Andrew and
Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael
and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the
Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote–Jesus of
Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nazareth! Can anything good
come from there? Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said
Philip.
ne of John the Baptist's disciples was a man by the name of
Andrew. When John introduced him to Jesus, Andrew left John
to follow Christ (John 1:40). Andrew's brother was Simon Peter.
Both were simple fishermen.
After leaving John the Baptist, Andrew spent time speaking with the Lord.
If there were any doubts about Jesus when he first left his former teacher,
there were none after having met and spoken with Jesus. Andrew believed
with all his heart that Jesus was the Messiah that was to come.
What did it mean for Andrew to meet that Saviour? The Bible tells us that
Andrew went to find his brother Simon Peter. He wanted to tell him what he
had found. We read in John 1:41: "The first thing Andrew did was to find
his brother Simon and tell him: ‘We have found the Messiah.’” Andrew had
just made the greatest discovery of his life. He had found the Saviour of the
world. What is the most natural thing in the world to do when you make an
important discovery? Do you not want to share it with others? Andrew went
to his own brother first. The hardest people to speak to about the Lord are
often the members of our family. When Andrew met the Saviour, he felt
compelled to go to his own family and share his discovery with them.
The next day Jesus met another man by the name of Philip (John 1:43). We
know very little about Philip. When Philip met Jesus, his reaction was very
similar to that of Andrew. He went and found a friend to tell about his
meeting with Jesus. Philip found Nathanael and said to him:
We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and
about whom the prophets also wrote–Jesus of Nazareth, the son
of Joseph. (John 1:45)
Both of these men responded in a similar way. They felt compelled to share
their discovery with their friends and loved ones. When you meet the
Saviour you too will have a desire to share your faith in him with others.
Like a young person who meets the love of his or her life, you want to talk
about the Lord to your friends and loved ones. It is hard not to talk to others
about your new-found relationship with the Lord. You invite them to come
and meet your Saviour. You bubble over with excitement and enthusiasm
for the one you love.
Andrew and Philip did what was only natural for them to do. They shared
their discovery with their loved ones. When you meet the Saviour, you too
will have a natural desire in your heart to share Him with others.
For Consideration:
Do you know the Lord Jesus as your Saviour today? Do you have a desire
to talk about Him with others?
What do you suppose keeps us from sharing the wonderful news of our
Saviour with others?
Consider what we have examined in this meditation about Andrew and
Philip. Was their relationship with Jesus merely an intellectual one? How do
you account for the excitement they seem to have in their heart about Jesus?
Do you have this excitement?
For Prayer:
Ask the Lord to give you a greater desire to share Him with others.
Ask the Lord to give you a real excitement in your heart about the Lord
Jesus and what He has done for you.
W
5 - NATHANAEL
Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one
Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets
also wrote–Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” “Nazareth!
Can anything good come from there? Nathanael asked. “Come
and see,” said Philip. When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching,
he said of him, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is
nothing false.” “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.
Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig
tree before Philip called you.” Than Nathanael declared,
“Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.
(John 1:45-49)
e saw in the last meditation that when Philip met the Lord, he
went to Nathanael with the good news. Nathanael's initial
response left much to be desired. He said: "can any good thing
come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:46).
Nathanael had his opinions about Nazareth and the people who came from
such a town. In his mind, there was nothing good about Nazareth or anyone
who lived there. When Philip came to him and told him about Jesus of
Nazareth, Nathanael was very sceptical. Philip encouraged him, however, to
come to see for himself.
As Nathanael went to meet Jesus, he had already judged Him. Maybe you
are like Nathanael. You have heard about these people who follow Jesus.
They are always going to church meetings. They are sometimes fanatical
about their faith. They go around telling others about Jesus. They read their
Bibles all the time. Like Nathanael, you are sceptical about associating with
this kind of person.
In spite of his prejudices, Nathanael went with Philip to meet the Lord
Jesus. When Jesus saw him coming He said to him: “Here is a true Israelite,
in whom there is nothing false” (John 1:47) It is unclear what Jesus was
saying to Nathanael, but his words show us that He knew all about him.
Nathanael was taken back by such a direct approach. “How do you know
me?” he asked Jesus in John 1:48. Jesus’ response shattered Nathanael: “I
saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you,”
Jesus told him.
Humanly speaking, it was impossible for Jesus to have known that
Nathanael was under that fig tree. Here before Nathanael was a man who
knew the deepest thoughts of his heart. We are not sure what Nathanael was
doing under that fig tree, but Jesus knew. Nathanael's prejudices were
shattered. He cried out: "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of
Israel” (John 1:49). Those simple words from Jesus to Nathanael that day
convinced him forever that Jesus was the Son of God and the divine King
of Israel, the Messiah. Nathanael left Jesus a changed man. He came as an
unbeliever. He left as a believer.
What did it mean for Nathanael to meet the Saviour? It meant a shattering
of his prejudices and preconceived ideas. It meant joining up with the man
of Nazareth (the town he hated). Nathanael had been wrong about Jesus.
Meeting Jesus that day he had to admit his error. He embraced the man of
Nazareth.
Maybe you are in the position of Nathanael. You have your own ideas about
Jesus and what it means to follow Him. Could it be that those ideas are
false? Nathanael's ideas were shattered when he accepted the invitation to
come and meet Jesus for himself. May you have the courage of Nathanael
to approach the “man of Nazareth” and meet him for yourself.
For Consideration:
What impressions have Christians given you about what it means to follow
Jesus?
Have you ever been “turned off” by a believer in Jesus Christ? Explain.
Are Christians always a true reflection of Christ and His character?
For Prayer:
Thank the Lord that while His followers have not always been good
examples of His character, He remains faithful and good.
Ask the Lord to help you to be a Christian that reflects well His character to
others.
Ask the Lord to strip away any prejudices or preconceived notions you
have. Ask Him to reveal Himself clearly and personally to you.
F
6 - THE MONEY
CHANGERS
When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up
to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle,
sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money.
So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple
area, both sheep and cattle, he scattered the coins of the money
changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves
he said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Fathers
house into a market!” (John 2:13-16)
or the Jew, the Passover was a very important festival. It
commemorated the day when the angel of the death “passed over”
the land of Egypt. On that day, the angel killed the first-born child
in every home. Only the homes that had the blood of a lamb painted on the
door posts were saved from this terrible judgment of God. The Passover
was a day when Jews came to Jerusalem from faraway places. There in
Jerusalem they would offer sacrifices of thanksgiving to their God.
The long journey was hard on the animals. Many chose to leave their
animals at home and buy what they needed for their sacrifices when they
arrived in Jerusalem. They came with currency from many different
countries. This currency needed to be exchanged into local currency to
purchase their animals for sacrifice.
It was here that the money changers came into the picture. They offered a
valuable service to Jews coming with foreign money. The problem was that
the money changers often took advantage of their brothers and sisters. The
exchange of money became big business. The animal sellers got into the act
as well. The temple area was filled with merchants, sheep and cattle.
Jesus arrived at the temple that day and looked over the scene before Him.
This was the temple of the Lord God. The occasion was a solemn
celebration in honour of the God who had delivered His people from Egypt.
The more Jesus looked at the scene, the angrier He became. He saw a
marketplace not a temple. He saw people whose intent was to make money
at the expense of their brothers and sisters. He saw the cheating and the
fraud. Passover had lost its meaning. It had turned into a day for making
money. All this was being done in the name of His heavenly Father.
Nowhere else in the gospels do we see Jesus respond with such anger. That
day, Jesus made a whip from cords He found in the temple. With His whip
in hand, Jesus drove the money changers and the animals out of the temple
shouting: “Get out of here! How dare you turn My Father's house into a
market!” (John 2:16).
What did it mean for the money changers to meet the Saviour? When they
met the Saviour, they came face to face with one who exposed their
hypocrisy and evil ways. They fell under His judgment. They were a
religious people offering a service to their brothers, but Jesus saw beyond
their outward actions to the inward attitude of their heart.
I dare say there are church goers today in the same situation as these money
changers. Maybe they are elders or deacons in their local church. Maybe
they sing in the choir. Maybe they teach Sunday school or work with the
youth. They serve the Lord but are not right with Him. In all of Scripture
never was the Lord as angry as when he met those who claimed to serve
God but in reality, lived for themselves.
The encounter of Jesus with the money changers was not a pleasant one.
Jesus was not fooled by their religious exterior. There is nothing we can
hide from the Lord Jesus. For the money changers, meeting Jesus meant
coming under His judgment. It meant exposing their hidden intentions and
motives. Meeting the Lord Jesus is not something to take lightly. When we
come to Him we must be ready for Him to expose whatever brings
dishonour to His Father. Will you come to Him under these conditions?
For Consideration:
Did the money changers and sellers of animals perform a necessary service
for Jews coming from a great distance? Why was Jesus angry with them?
Is it possible for us to serve in a church and not be in a right relationship
with God? What does it mean to be in a good relationship with God?
What can we really hide from the Lord?
Take a moment to examine your relationship with the Lord today? Does it
consist merely of external rituals or does it come sincerely from the heart?
What is hypocrisy? Why does hypocrisy displease God?
Are you ready personally for the Lord to expose anything in you that brings
dishonour to His name?
For Prayer:
Ask the Lord to examine your inner motives in serving Him. Ask Him to
expose anything that does not bring honour to His name.
Thank the Lord that while He is a God who is angered by hypocrisy and
sin, He is still a God of compassion and grace toward those who come to
Him in sincerity.
I
7 - NICODEMUS
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a
member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night
and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come
from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you
are doing if God were not with him.” In reply Jesus declared,
“I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless
he is born again.” (John 3:1-3)
n John 3 we meet a man by the name of Nicodemus. He was a
Pharisee. As a Pharisee, he was a religious person. He carefully
observed the Law of Moses. Few people in Israel lived up to the high
standards of the Pharisees.
We learn something else about Nicodemus. In John 3:2 he says to Jesus:
“Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God.
For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if
God were not with him.”
What he had seen Jesus do proved to Nicodemus that Jesus exercised His
ministry in the power of God and under His authority. Nicodemus believed
that Jesus was from God.
There is one more thing we need to say about Nicodemus. Notice that he
came to Jesus at night. The Pharisees did not like Jesus because He exposed
their hypocrisy. Nicodemus however, despite what his fellow Pharisees
said, came to Jesus to learn more. He appeared to be a man who was
searching for a deeper understanding of the truth Jesus taught.
What more could we ask for in a man of God? Here was a man who lived a
good life. He was a careful observer of the Law of God. He believed Jesus
was from God. This was clear from the works he had seen Jesus do. Finally,
he was willing to listen to Jesus and had a hunger for the truth He taught.
When Nicodemus approached Jesus in John 3, however, the first thing Jesus
said to him was this: “I tell you the truth; no one can see the kingdom of
God unless he is born again” (John 3:3).
Nicodemus did not understand what Jesus was telling him. Jesus was telling
him however that all his good works and careful observation of the Law of
God was not enough to get him to heaven? He did well to believe that Jesus
was from God but even that would not get him into heaven. Unless he was
born again Nicodemus would never see the kingdom of heaven.
Nicodemus had never heard this teaching before. He asked Jesus what He
meant. Jesus told him that no one could enter heaven unless they
experienced a spiritual birth. We come into this physical world by means of
a physical birth. Jesus was teaching Nicodemus that he would have to
experience a spiritual birth to enter heaven.
For spiritual birth to take place the Spirit of God must come to live in our
lives. This is only possible through the forgiveness of sins. The Lord Jesus
forgives our sin by paying our debt on the cross. This opens the doors for
His Spirit to come to live in our lives. When God's Spirit comes, He gives
us a whole new life. Those who know the presence of the Spirit of God are
changed. The apostle Paul put it this way in 2 Corinthians 5:17:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old
has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Nicodemus knew nothing about this spiritual birth or the life of God’s Spirit
in him.
What did it mean for Nicodemus to meet that Saviour? It meant coming to
grips with the fact that, if he was going to get to heaven, it would not be on
the basis of his good life and beliefs. If he was going to see the kingdom of
God, he needed to be born spiritually into the family of God.
Have you experienced this new birth? This is an important question. “No
one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3.3). Be
careful how you answer this question. Those who have been born again are
new people. This is not something they can do for themselves. You did not
have anything to do with your physical birth nor can you be born again
spiritually by your own efforts. It is a work of God as He comes to endwell
our lives.
Nicodemus was a good man but he would not see the kingdom of God. God
reserves his kingdom for His children only. No one else will enter His
kingdom. You do not become a child of God by your physical birth. You do
not become a child of God by trying to make yourself acceptable in His
sight. You become a child of God through a miraculous and gracious work
of God who reaches down to us and plants His life in us.
What did it mean for Nicodemus to meet the Saviour? It meant coming face
to face with the fact that salvation had nothing to do with his own efforts
and beliefs. It meant facing the reality that unless a miracle of God took
place in him, he would never see the kingdom of God. It meant facing the
reality that salvation was not about what he did for God but about what God
did for him.
For Consideration:
Why is it so difficult for us to accept the fact that salvation is not about
what we do for God but about what He does in us?
What views are there in our day about how we can get to heaven? What
does Jesus tell Nicodemus here is the only way to get to heaven?
What does it mean to be born again? Can you be a good living person,
believe in Jesus and still not be born again?
How can a person know if they are born again? What evidence should there
be in our lives?
For Prayer:
Ask the Lord to show you today in what or in whom you are trusting for
your salvation.
Put aside all confidence in your good works and beliefs and call out to the
Lord God to save you.
Ask the Lord Jesus to forgive and cleanse you from your sin and place His
Spirit in you. Ask Him to make you his child.
If you know Him today, take a moment to thank the Lord for the evidence
of His life in you.
I
8 - THE SAMARITAN
WOMAN
Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in
Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given
to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he
was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the
sixth hour. When a Samaritan woman came to draw water,
Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples
had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman
said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How
can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with
Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God
and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked
him and he would have given you living water.” (John 4:4-10)
n John 4, Jesus met a woman at a well in Samaria. The Samaritans
were enemies of the Jews. So great was the hatred between these two
nations that the Jews refused to pass through their territory.
Jesus chose to pass through Samaria on His way to Galilee. Being weary, he
rested by a well. The disciples went into the village to buy food. As Jesus
rested, a woman came to the well to draw water. We discover four things
about her in this passage.
First, this woman was a Samaritan. The average Jew would have walked
away when he saw a Samaritan approach. Jesus stayed by the well.
Second, she was a woman. Note the reaction of the disciples when they
return from the village:
Just then the disciples returned and were surprised to find him
talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?”
or “Why are you talking to her. (John 4:27)
The average Jew would not have been alone with a woman in this situation.
The disciples are surprised to see Jesus sitting by the well speaking with
her.
Third, we understand in John 4.18, that this woman had five husbands and
the man she was living with was not her husband. Despite her lifestyle,
Jesus still took time to speak to her.
We learn finally that the Samaritan woman was somewhat argumentative.
When she discovered that Jesus was a prophet, she tried to engage him in a
religious debate. She brought up an issue that had long time been debated
between the Jew and the Samaritan concerning the proper place to worship.
Jesus is not distracted by her argumentative spirit.
We do not know why the Samaritan woman had so many husbands. Was it
because they all died? The chances of all five dying are very slim. Did they
divorce her? Was it because of her loose living or her argumentative spirit
that they left her? The Bible does not give us the answers to these questions.
We see before us, however, a woman with problems. Did Jesus felt
compelled to come to Samaria to bring comfort to her troubled soul?
Here was a woman the average Jew would have avoided at all costs. Her
life left much to be desired. What did it mean for the Samaritan woman to
meet the Saviour? It meant that she found acceptance. She had been cast
aside by many people. She had gone through five husbands. The Jews
rejected her. In this man Jesus, however, she was accepted.
This woman was so touched by this encounter with Jesus that she ran into
town to speak to her friends. “Come, see a man who told me everything I
ever did,” she said. “Could this be the Christ?” People from all over the
town came to meet Jesus that day. Many believed and accepted Him
because of what the woman had told them.
The Samaritan woman at the well was in many ways an outcast. She had
problems with men and problems with the Jews. She was not proud of her
life. She was surprised that Jesus would even speak to her. Maybe you can
identify with this woman. You may not be proud of your past either. You
may have been let down and rejected by many people. This woman found
acceptance in Jesus. Jesus looked beyond her sins and her situation and
invited her to drink of the living water that would satisfy the deep longing
of her soul. She found in Him everything her heart had been longing for.
Jesus will do the same for you today.
For Consideration:
What do we know about the Samaritan woman Jesus met that day? Are
there people comparable to this in your society?
Do we have to be good to be accepted by the Lord?
Have you found acceptance in the Lord Jesus? Have you accepted those
around you who are “unlovely” and “unacceptable?
For Prayer:
Thank the Lord that He reaches out and accepts us just as we are.
Ask the Lord to open your heart more to those around you who are outcasts
in our society.
Ask the Lord to help you to show love and compassion to people like this
woman in your society.
A
9 - THE NOBLEMAN
Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the
water into wine, and there was a certain royal official whose
son lay sick at Capernaum. When this man heard that Jesus had
arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him
to come and heal his son, who was close to death. Unless you
people see miraculous signs and wonders,” Jesus told him,
“you will never believe.” The royal official said, “Sir come
down before my child dies,” Jesus replied, “You may go. Your
son will live.” The man took Jesus at his word and departed.
While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the
news that his boy was living. (John 4: 46-51)
fter His time in Samaria, Jesus went on to Galilee. In Cana of
Galilee, He met a nobleman. This nobleman had heard about the
miracles of Jesus. He had a son who was on his deathbed. When
he heard that Jesus was in Galilee, the nobleman asked Jesus to come to his
place and heal his son.
Maybe in his mind's eye he had an image of Jesus standing by his son’s bed.
Perhaps Jesus would offer a great prayer and touch his son. His son would
rise out of his bed to the amazement of all the onlookers. What a joyous
celebration would follow. Maybe the nobleman would have called together
all his friends and relatives to celebrate the occasion. Maybe he would have
hosted a great feast in honour of Jesus who had healed his son. What a
happy occasion this would be. There would be laughter, merriment and joy.
While the Bible does not describe for us the nobleman's idea of what would
happen that day, it is clear from the context that he expected a great sign or
wonder. Jesus’ response to him in John 4:48 is a clear indication of this fact:
“Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders,” Jesus
told him, “you will never believe.”
In response to the nobleman’s request Jesus simply said: “You may go.
Your son will live” (John 4.50). Jesus did not go with the nobleman. He
simply told him to go home. His son would live. There was no thunderbolt
from heaven. There was no laying on of hands. There was no prayer offered
up for his son. Jesus did not even go to see his son. All the nobleman had
was the word of Jesus, "You may go. Your son will live" (John 4:50). He
could have returned home a discouraged man.
The Bible tells us that the nobleman however “took Jesus at His word and
departed” (John 4:50). As he returned, he was met by one of his servants
with the news that his son had been healed. When he inquiring about the
time of his son's healing, the nobleman discovered that it was at the precise
moment that Jesus told him to go home. The word of the Lord was
sufficient to bring healing.
What did it mean for the nobleman to meet the Saviour? It meant that he
had to take Him at his word. Jesus gave him His word and that was enough.
Some people are waiting for a big sign or miracle before they believe.
There will be no thunderbolt from heaven. There will be no sign. God has
spoken and this is enough. Will we take Him at His word like the nobleman
and be healed or will you wait for a sign that may never come and perish?
For Consideration:
Have you ever missed out on what the Lord Jesus was doing because it was
not what you expected?
Why do you suppose we need signs and wonders to prove that what Jesus
says is true?
Consider that the world as we know it was brought into existence by the
word of the Lord. Is His word enough for you to believe today?
For Prayer:
Ask the Lord to forgive you for the times you failed to take Him at His
word. Thank Him that His word is true.
Ask the Lord to help you to trust His word. Ask Him to give you grace to
be more willing to step out in His promises.
I
10 - THE MAN AT THE
POOL
Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in
Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five
covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people
used to lay--the blind, the lame, and the paralyzed. One who
was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When
Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this
condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get
well?” “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into
the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in,
someone else goes down ahead of me.” Then Jesus said to him,
“Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was
cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this
took place was the Sabbath. (John 5:2-9)
n Jerusalem one day, Jesus passed by the pool of Bethesda. This pool
was a gathering place for the infirmed, the crippled, and the paralyzed.
They believed that, at a certain time, an angel would come down and
stir up the waters. The first person into the pool would be healed.
Jesus met a man at the pool that day. He had been an invalid for 38 years.
When the angel stirred up the waters, this man was not able to get into the
pool. Someone else always got there before him. He needed someone to
help him. There was nobody there for him. Maybe he had no family.
Perhaps his family had abandoned him. His friends were not there for him
either. He was a lonely man in need of help.
The pool of Bethesda was his only hope. He waited at the pool hoping that
somehow he would be healed. When he met Jesus that day, there was no
exchanging of names. They engaged in a simple conversation. Jesus asked
him if he wanted to get well. The man responded: “I have no one to help me
into the pool when the water is stirred.” (John 5:7). Was there in this
statement a gentle pleading for help? Would this stranger be kind enough to
pick him up and carry him to the pool?
Jesus had compassion on the invalid that day. He told him to take up his bed
and walk. Immediately, the man felt his strength renewed. He stood up,
picked up his mat and walked. In his astonishment and joy, he failed to see
that Jesus had left him. He had not even asked Him His name.
When the Jews asked him who it was that had healed him in John 5:12, the
invalid had to admit that he did not know His name. Only when Jesus
appeared again to him in the temple, did the man recognize Him.
That invalid had to admit before the people of his day that he did not know
the man who had healed him. How humbling that would have been. For
thirty-eight years he lay on a mat not able to walk. A stranger gave him the
gift of wholeness. He did not even ask the stranger His name.
Do you know the One who gave you life? You owe your life and breath to
this Creator God. Everything you have or ever will have is a gift from His
hands. Your health, your job, your family, your home are all blessings from
Him. Do you know him?
What a tragedy it would be to go through life never personally knowing this
God. Are you like the man at the pool? You have received life from a
stranger. That stranger came and died that you might be forgiven of your
sins. Do you know this Stranger? Have you ever committed yourself to
finding Him? It is not too late. Will you make it your priority to know him?
For Consideration:
Have you ever felt like this invalid at the pool of Bethesda, hurting and
alone? Explain.
Why do you suppose Jesus singled out this one man among all those who
were at the pool that day?
What has the Lord God done for you?
How well do you know the Lord Jesus today? How important is it for us to
know Him today?
For Prayer:
Ask the Lord to help you to reach out to those who are hurting and suffering
like this invalid at the pool.
Thank the Lord for what He has done for you and for the good things He
has given you.
Ask the Lord to help you to get to know Him more. Thank Him that He
wants us to know Him more.
J
11 - THE BOY WHO FED
FIVE THOUSAND
When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward
him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these
people to eat?” He asked this to test him, for he already had in
mind what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “Eight
months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to
have a bite!” Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peters
brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves
and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
esus' fame had spread throughout the land. People were coming from
all over to hear Him preach. Many came with the sick and infirmed to
have Jesus heal them. On this occasion, a crowd of five thousand
people gathered around Jesus.
Jesus knew the crowd was weary. They may have been with Him for some
time. They needed to eat to renew their strength. Jesus asked Philip:
“Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?”
The disciples were not rich men. They had left everything to follow Jesus.
They did not have the money necessary to buy food for such a crowd. Philip
replied, “Eight months' wages would not buy enough bread for each one to
have a bite.” (John 6:7). In his mind it was impossible to feed such a crowd
on the money they had available to them.
Maybe Andrew heard what Jesus had said to Philip. He began to inquire
among the crowd to see if anyone had brought food. If those who brought
food could share it, maybe there would be enough to go around. Andrew's
search revealed only a little boy with five loaves and two small fish. He
reported this to Jesus.
Jesus asked the people to be seated. Taking the little boy's lunch, He gave
thanks and broke it. He then called His disciples to distribute the pieces He
had broken. They served the bread and the fish to the crowd. Each time
someone reached into the basket their hand came up full. Five thousand
people were fed that day. Twelve baskets remained when everyone had
finished eating. The people were astonished at this great miracle of God.
This miracle took place thanks to a little boy's lunch.
What did it mean for this little boy to meet the Saviour? It meant that he
had to learn that Jesus was interested in his loaves and fishes. It meant
learning that when he offered whatever he had the Lord was able and
willing to do great things with it. Of all the people that Jesus could have
used that day, he chose a little boy. We do not even know the name of this
youngster. We have no record of ever meeting him again. The little he had
he surrendered to the Lord and the Lord was pleased to bless. Five thousand
people were fed thanks to his little lunch.
You may not feel like you have much to offer the Lord. You may feel
insignificant. Jesus is interested in you just the same. He can take the most
insignificant people and do significant things through them. There were five
thousand people in the crowd that day. Jesus put His finger on one little boy.
Maybe He is pointing His finger at you today as well. Maybe He is calling
you to surrender what you have to Him. Will you listen to His voice? Like
the little boy, will you surrender to Him the little you have? He will do great
things with what you give to Him.
For Consideration:
Have you ever felt unworthy or inadequate? What does this passage teach
us about the kind of people the Lord can use?
What holds you back from offering what you have to the Lord and his
service?
Why do you suppose we feel that the Lord needs important and educated
people for His kingdom? What is God really looking for in a person He
wants to use?
For Prayer:
Thank the Lord that while we are unworthy and inadequate He is willing
and able to use us just as we are.
Take a moment now to offer yourself afresh to the Lord God. Ask Him to
show you how He can use what you surrender to Him.
A
12 - THE CROWD AND
THE BREAD OF LIFE
Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me,
not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the
loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but
for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will
give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of
approval.” Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the
works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is
this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:26-29)
fter feeding the five thousand, Jesus crossed the lake of
Capernaum. The next day, the crowd, realizing that Jesus was no
longer among them, went to find Him. They found Him on the
other side of the lake.
Seeing the crowd, Jesus knew their heart. He said to them:
“I tell you the truth; you are looking or me, not because you
saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had
your fill.”(John 6:26)
Jesus knew why the crowd had come searching for Him. They came for
what they could get out of Him. The day before, Jesus had fed them bread
and fish. As long as Jesus had food to offer they would follow Him.
Knowing their heart, Jesus told the crowd not to work for the food that
perished. Instead they were to seek the food that lasted for eternity. This
food was to believe in Him. Physical food would gave them physical life
and strength. Believing in Him as the one sent from God would, however,
give them spiritual life and strength.
The crowd responded by asking Jesus to prove that He really was the One
whom God had sent. They reminded Jesus that God proved Himself to the
people in Moses' day by sending them bread from heaven. Maybe the
people were hungry. Were they suggesting to Jesus that he repeat
yesterday's miracle and give them all something to eat? The idea they were
trying to communicate to Him was that if He did give them something to
eat, it would show them that He really was the Son of God? “Give us some
food and we will.believe you” was in essence what they were saying to
Jesus.
“I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he
who believes in me will never be thirsty,” Jesus told them in John 6:35. The
Bread of heaven was right in front of them but they did not believe. He had
already proved Himself to them by feeding the five thousand just a day
before. Why would they believe if He did another miracle? This statement
caused quite a stir among the disciples. When Jesus refused to show them a
sign, many left Him never to return.
Here was a group of people who were willing to follow Jesus as long as He
filled their bellies. They were only interested in a Jesus who gave them food
and healed their sick. They followed Him for what they could get out of
him.
What did it mean for the crowd to meet the Saviour? It meant that they were
confronted with who Jesus really was. They were challenged to believe in
Him for who He was, not for what they could get out of Him for
themselves.
Why do you come to Jesus today? He is the Son of God. He is the Lord of
lords. He is the King of kings. He is a holy and perfect Saviour. Those who
understand who he is fall down at His feet in worship and praise for who He
is. Standing before the people that day was the very Son of God. The only
concern of the crowd was to know what they were going to get from Him.
If He didn’t give them what they wanted, they were going to leave Him. He
had no value to them apart from what He gave to them. They walked away
from the Son of God because He did not give them bread. They saw Him as
a servant whose only purpose was to meet their every need. What an insult
this was to the Lord Jesus.
Jesus let the crowd go. He did nothing to keep them. He did not want
followers whose only desire was a selfish one. This type of friend is not a
friend at all.
This passage calls us to examine our reasons for coming to Jesus. People
follow Jesus for all kinds of reasons. The crowd that day followed Him only
to be healed and fed. When Jesus refused to give them what they wanted
they walked away. They were not committed to Him. Why do you come to
Jesus today? Do you come because He is the Lord God or do you too come
to be fed?
For Consideration:
Why did the crowd follow after Jesus? What reasons do people have in our
day for following Jesus?
What did Jesus mean when He said that He was the “Bread of Life?”
Who is Jesus to you personally?
Why did Jesus let this crowd go?
For Prayer:
Take a moment to thank the Lord Jesus for who He is and what He has
done.
Ask the Lord to help you to appreciate more fully who He is and what he
had done for your salvation.
Ask the Lord to remove all selfish motives from your heart and teach you to
love Him for who He is.
Ask the Lord to renew in His church a deep sense of awe over Jesus as the
very Son of God.
P
13 - THE ADULTEROUS
WOMAN
The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman
caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and
said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of
adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such
women. Now what to you say?” They were using the question
as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus
bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.
When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said
to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to
throw a stone at her.” (John 8:3-7)
eople had gathered around Jesus at the temple court to hear Him
teach. Jesus' teaching was interrupted however when the teachers of
the law and the Pharisees burst into the temple area. They had a
woman with them. Those who had been intently listening to Jesus turned to
see what was happening. The group made its way to where Jesus was
teaching. They set the woman in front of the crowd. Every eye likely turned
to her. One man in the group said:
“Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the
Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what to
you say?” (John 8:4)
Perhaps there was a gasp of horror as the crowd looked at the woman. The
attitude in the court may have changed. A spirit of judgment possibly rose
into the air. Did the people prepare themselves to pick up the nearest stone
to throw at her? Adultery could not be tolerated.
As for the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, they were smiling to
themselves. They had been looking for such an opportunity. They hated
Jesus and wanted to cast doubt on His ministry. They knew Jesus was
considered by the crowd to be a friend of sinners. Would he go against the
Law of Moses to protect the life of this woman? If He did, they would
expose Him as a false teacher.
Jesus refused to answer. He knew what these men were doing. They wanted
to trap Him. The Pharisees and teachers of the law continued to question
Jesus demanding an answer. The crowd listened, waiting for His response.
Finally Jesus straightened up and said:
“If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a
stone at her.” (John 8:7)
The woman braced herself to be dragged out of the temple court to be
stoned. Nobody approached her. The crowd looked between her and Jesus.
They looked at one another. One man left. Another followed. One by one
they left until Jesus remained alone with the woman. “Has no one
condemned you,” asked Jesus. “No one, sir” she replied. “Then neither do I
condemn you,” said Jesus, “go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:11).
Jesus was the only person in the courtyard that day without sin. He alone
could have cast the first stone. He refused to do so, choosing mercy over
judgment.
What did it mean for the adulterous woman to meet the Saviour? It meant
that she was given a new chance to live. The crowd would have stoned her.
In their eyes she did not deserve to live. Jesus was willing to forgive. He
accepted her when everyone else rejected her.
There is no sin too big for Jesus to forgive. Others may hold this sin against
you, but in Jesus there is forgiveness. It does not matter what you have done
in the past. Jesus will accept you when everyone else has turned their backs
on you. You do not have to be good to come to Jesus. You can come just as
you are.
Without Jesus this woman would have lost her life. The greatest thing the
Jewish leaders could have done for her was to bring her to Jesus. He was
her only hope. Jesus is willing to forgive the sins everyone else seems to
remember. In Him you will find great mercy and compassion.
The adulterous woman must have left the presence of Jesus a changed
woman. How could she ever return to her sin again? She owed Jesus her
life. She was forgiven. Let Jesus do the same for you today.
For Consideration:
Have you ever found yourself in the place of the religious leaders of Jesus'
day? What is the difference between how we see sinners and how God sees
them?
Are there sins you find difficult to forgive? Is the Lord willing to forgive
those sins?
What is the connection here between forgiveness and turning away from the
sin for which we have been forgiven? What requirement does Jesus place
on this woman He forgave?
For Prayer:
Thank the Lord that He is willing to forgive you for your sins.
Ask the Lord to give you grace to show mercy and compassion on those
who have sinned against you.
Take a moment to commit yourself to the Lord Jesus. Ask Him to forgive
you for your sins. Receive that forgiveness and walk away from those sins
today.
I
14 - THE MAN BORN
BLIND
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples
asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he
was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,”
said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be
displayed in his life.” (John 9:1-3)
n their journeys, Jesus and his disciples met a man born blind. As they
passed by, the disciples asked Jesus a question. “Rabbi, who sinned,
this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2) Jesus told
them that this man’s blindness was not the result of sin in his life or the
lives of his parents.
While this was the very first encounter of Jesus with this man, Jesus knew
all about him. He knew that he was not blind as a result of some private sin.
He knew that this was not an act of judgment on the part of God. “This
happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life,” Jesus told
His disciples (John 9.3).
God had a purpose in the blindness of this man. When he was born, his
parents did not understand why God had given them a blind child. They
may have even been angry or disappointed with God. Maybe they felt like
the disciples, that they were being punished for some secret sin.
Here was a man God wanted to heal. By his healing, many would see the
power and compassion of God at work. The blind man, unknown to
himself, awaited the Lord's timing. That day came. Jesus stood before him.
The Lord made some mud and placed the mixture on the man's eyes. Jesus
then told him to go to the pool of Siloam to wash.
With the mud in his eyes, the blind man made his way to the pool of
Siloam. He washed in the pool as Jesus commanded and was healed. People
were amazed at the work of God in His life. The Pharisees asked him who
had healed him. He told them it was Jesus.
The Pharisees asked him what he thought about Jesus. In John 9:17 he told
them that he believed Jesus to be a great prophet. While this was an
admirable statement, it shows us that this man’s spiritual eyes had not been
opened to the true identity of Jesus who had healed him. Jesus was far more
than a prophet.
The Pharisees told the man that because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath,
He could not possibly be a great prophet. He had to be a sinner. The man
replied, “Whether He is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know,
I was blind but now I see” (John 9:25).
As the conversation between the man and the Pharisees continued, he told
them that he believed Jesus had to be from God. “We know that God does
not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does His will. Nobody
has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not
from God, he could do nothing,” he told the Pharisees (John 9:31-33). With
that statement, the Pharisees became angry. Because he saw Jesus as a man
of God, the Pharisees cast him out of the temple. Being excommunicated
was a terrible shame for a Jew. He was publicly humiliated.
Jesus came to see the man when He heard he had been cast out of the
temple. “Do you believe in the son of Man,” Jesus asked him (John 9:35).
“Who is He, sir?” the man asked (John 9:36). “You have now seen Him; in
fact, He is the one speaking with you,” Jesus responded (John 9:37). When
he heard this, the scales fell from his spiritual eyes. “Lord, I believe,” he
said as he fell down and worshipped Him (John 9:38). That day the man
was completely healed (physically and spiritually). God's purpose had been
finally worked out in his life.
What did it mean for the man born blind to meet the Saviour? It meant that
he received new sight both physically and spiritually. He saw things now in
a completely new light. He had been healed physically but more
importantly, he was spiritually healed. He saw Jesus as he had never seen
Him before. He was more than a prophet. He was more than a worshipper
of God. He was more than a good man sent from God. He was God and
God had reached out and touched him.
What a day that was. To no longer be blind was great; to have seen the Son
of God was far greater. Maybe you too are like this blind man. All your life
you have been blinded to the things of God. Maybe today the Lord Jesus
wants to reach out His hands through this book to touch your spiritual eyes.
Let Him touch you. You will never be the same again.
For Consideration:
What is the difference between physical healing and spiritual healing? Can
we be physically healed and not know the Lord who healed us?
Who is Jesus to you today? Do you know Him as a good teacher, a
worshiper of God or as God?
Which healing is more important, physical or spiritual? Explain
Have your eyes been opened to the Lord Jesus and who He is?
For Prayer:
Ask the Lord to open your eyes to who He is.
If He has already revealed Himself to you ask Him to teach you more.
Take a moment to pray that the Lord would heal the spiritual blindness in
your society. Ask Him to reveal Himself to those around you.
H
15 - THE PHARISEES
AND THE DEATH OF
LAZARUS
When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus,
come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet
wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus
said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and
had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him. But some of
them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.
Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the
Sanhedrin. “What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here
is this man performing many miraculous signs. If we let him go
on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans
will come and take away both our place and our nation.” (John
11:43-48)
ave you ever met someone whose mind was made up? You can
reason all you want with these people but you will never change
their minds. While evidence proves them wrong, they prefer to
go to the grave wrong rather than admit their mistake. These people usually
become bitter and unreasonable. Some of the Pharisees could be put into
this category.